Wednesday, November 30, 2016

The Last Pumpkin - Who Loves Food?!?!

I am so very very grateful the Creator God gave us FOOD!! and taste buds to enjoy it and the sense of smell to savor it! So many precious memories revolve around food - for me at least. I just really enjoy eating!
I love all kinds of food - from so many ethnic backgrounds. I am thankful too to be married to a guy who loves the ever succulent adventure of trying new foods and then re-visiting those dishes whenever we can. There are very few things I've tried that I have utterly disliked - or perhaps I've not acquired a taste for it yet.
I love to eat on my own, in a group, or just with my honey. I love the gathering of friends and family to savor moments that center around food - after time has thoughtfully been spent in the kitchen. I love when I have been invited to a home and get to smell unique spices, to taste those flavors that are particular to that culture. We have lived in three countries plus visited others where we were invited to the sacred rite of sharing a meal in someone's home. Amazing! just amazing!
Food can be taken advantage of or even abused but I believe that God meant for us to enjoy all these tastes and a variety of unique dishes with relish and with no guilt!
Serving sizes matter, though. Use discretion and don't stretch your stomach into always requiring more to feel full! Drinking lots of water - even a glass before a meal can help you control the amount you want eat. All things in moderation and eating is truly an absolute joy!
I do have my own thoughts and opinions about food. I really believe that the more natural we go and try our best to use and prepare food with unprocessed ingredients, the better it is for our health. I think also, that home-cooked and fresh prepared is the best. It may take extra time but is worth it! Additives, preservatives and chemicals accumulate in our bodies and eventually may wreak havoc on our health. When we cook from scratch we can control the quantity and the quality of the ingredients. We decide our portions ... it is up to us to use self-control.
All that is not to say I always choose wisely or perfectly in my eating but my general way of life and eating is pretty clean and natural.
this is what I ate yesterday - started with a sliver of home-made pumpkin pie & coffee, then, pimento cheese with sliced olives on a piece of toast, for lunch was white corn nachos w/ jalapenos and cheese, afternoon snack: 1/2 banana, 1/2 tangerine & a few almonds, supper: a lean hamburger patty, sweet potato and salad. Wow! that's alot of food!!
I know, I know, I am so very blessed ... and all of us are who have a couple of meals a day. And so, I count my blessings daily, and am ever grateful for food!!

Monday, November 28, 2016

Still November, Still Thankful - for Family and Friends!

Family - this small, little six letter word encompasses so much. Especially for those of us  who are Christians. It may sort of seem that when I covered Home I could have covered family too but not really. Family is so much more than the place where my 'immediates' live. And well, yes, that can even change through the years.
There are times we have no choice in the matter, like our blood relatives - I was born into the family of Clyde and Naomi and already had in place two older sisters. The one nearest my age had Downs Syndrome so, there was going to be definite influences on my life that are probably different than others. I already had a  whole gigantic slew of relatives because Dad was one of 13 children and Mom the youngest of 9. So, I had bookoos of cousins, and uncles and aunts. I only had one set of grandparents though because my Mom's parents had already died. Anyway, this was what I was born into, a set culture, background, a spirituality already being lived out on both sides of my family. It was a  pretty marvelous group to be born into. Not perfect by any means and our own set of negatives to overcome, but a good foundation and I am SO very grateful. So much to be thankful for and also, a feeling of responsibility to keep a standard of respect and integrity for this family.

Some of us marry into family and that becomes ours as well ... by law and by someone's choice. Dad and Mom in laws, sister and brother in laws, uncle and aunts, grandparents, the daughters and sons in laws .... all these are ours! Sometimes this group is very small and sometimes it becomes really, really big! And also, with this comes responsibility - to keep love and concern flowing, celebrations of life and death. Sometimes those in laws are ours because of someone else marrying but they matter, This is all ours.
I have chosen a family along the way - when I became a Christian and was added to the Body of Christ on February 16, 1969, God made me a part of a universal spiritual family that knows no boundaries of location, culture, color, gender, or time ... yes, I am able to count generations of long-gone folks as my brothers and sisters. Pretty amazing!!I believe a lot of joy and responsibility comes with this choice.

Friendship leads to family-like ties sometimes too - when you feel so close to someone who has no other tie than that of friendship but the hearts just mesh in a unity that is really cool. A favorite little poem of mine is:

Some friends are summer friends, fragile as flowers they are delightful in life's milder hours. I love the winter friends; wind tossed they bow but do not break nor lose their luster in the snow and ice. (unknown)

And of course this verse is so true!!

Friends come and friends go,
    but a true friend sticks by you like family. Proverbs 18:24 (MSG)

So, anyway, I am so very thankful for all the people in my life who make up family - they have been and will continue to be part of who I am. For sure, I have been affected negatively by family members - that unspoken affirmation, the longed-for presence that never appeared, those sought for words that were never given. But, for the most part I live for and have always dwelt in the positive. Hugs, joy, laughter, singing, amazing fellowship, support when I couldn't go it alone, the knowing that I have been surrounded by prayer warriors my entire life!! All of this ...  molding and defining who I am.
My own prayer is that I will be a positive influence on these people - that my impact will always bring light to places that could be dark otherwise. I know I have messed up various times. But, I pray I will never underestimate the power of my word, my encouragement, my positive reaction to their good news, my sorrow lovingly expressed in imminent, unavoidable losses. And, just that my love and influence will always be a beacon shining the way to heaven's gates as I follow day by day in His steps.


Wednesday, November 16, 2016


Here I go again ... really wanting to set up some definite goals for my business and see the fruition of them. I seem to get so distracted with good things in life which takes me from the concrete happening of my business growth. But also, I seem to have a mental block … even though I practice affirmations with myself and try to set up definite times to work it hasn't fallen into place for me to see the success and growth that I need and want - or do I want it? I feel like it's different now. Several things have happened over the past few days to help me believe that the time is NOW.
I am going to just START! I am allowing myself the permission to stop treating this as a hobby or part-time activity and I am really prepared to throw myself into it full-time – or at least doing the actual business-building activities on a more regular basis. I don't have to do this eight hours a day to make it work – I just need to work it correctly. I am actually giving myself permission to be successful. And always being ready to 'work'.
One of the best things about being a Network Marketing professional is the fact that you must indulge in self-help, motivational books and surround yourself with positive people – it's like a mandate for success. A second great thing about being a network marketing professional is that you will NEVER succeed if you don't have it on your heart to serve others - and seriously, who doesn't need to practice that in life?
One of the worst things about being a Network Marketing professional is that you find yourself being out of the norm – people don't take you seriously, or even think you're off your rocker to consider this career as the real deal. But basically I have accepted that it doesn't really matter what the Negative Nancys or Dream Busters of life think about me. They don't pay our bills or have our international dreams of helping others. It does kind of bother me that people seem afraid to even be encouraging. hardly anyone asks me how I'm doing or even seems to care. But, actually I must share here that one of my biggest fans in what I do is my friend Nancy ... she is always there to love me, pray for me, has been a terrific customer, attends my online parties, and overall is just the best person for my heart.

What do I do to help myself?? – well, I keep taking care of who I am! I maintain great habits!! Yep, I pray regularly, study my Bible, and I rest, eat right, exercise, listen to training calls offered by successful people in my business, I treat myself to being a part of positive pages and groups where knowledge, enthusiasm and great testimonies are shared. I learn about the products I offer, I use them and totally believe in them. I am able to have intelligent conversations with people interested in what we have to offer.

I am re-reading the highlights of two books that deal with my industry and help me to take myself seriously. Rock Your Network Marketing Business just reiterates to my soul that I am a part of a powerful business – the business model itself being not only smart but brilliant! Basically it is allowing me to design my professional life to fit around the rest of my life. That's so important to me and where I am on my own journey right now – there's so many dreams we have to fulfill as a married couple and a family. I buy products that I love, that truly work for me and others and then, I get paid to talk about what I love. My customer base grows. I get to choose who I partner with – I am praying over and creating a dream of a team! And we celebrate our success together as it unfolds for each of us. And this is where my leverage grows – creating residual income for myself and others. I truly am in business for myself, but never by myself! The personal development activities I mentioned above not only help me in my business but, truly help me in life! I am growing in leadership skills, confidence and am learning how to better communicate with my family and fellow church members – even in the community! 
 There is no magic formula to success and it definitely doesn't happen overnight but, I have grown little by little and have been learning every step of the way. The process has been remarkable. I am developing proficiency and am writing my own unique story as I go. I am truly CEO of my own company. Nobody is going to build it or make it happen for me. Now it's time – to be accountable for my daily actions and activities and I will own my results.
The second book I've pulled out is the Magic of Thinking BIG – I am practicing making my successful actions habitual! I am practicing it and letting it become second nature to me rather than a hit or miss part of my business. This book has reminded me of some key things that will work in my favor:
I have great health, I know how to use my knowledge in a positive way, I am the perfect age and I attract loving, positive people and results.
I really like who I have grown to be over the years and better yet, I am in love with the life still to come. 
So, just like the training teaches in our back office, we will only be successful IF and when we decide to make it personal and practice "Build Your Own Business" - BYOB. Yep, it's my name on the paycheck and month by month I will see it increase in accordance to my income producing work. I kind of really like that! 
vbgf233v      222222222 ... do you see those letters to the side? courtesy of Gabby-cat. I dream of working from the beach - isn't that an awesome photo? but in reality I build mainly from the wifi in my own home and my cat allows me to share the desk.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Home - My Heart Sings its Thankfulness!

So, yes, during these notes of thankfulness in November this post is pretty much on the top of my list!! It encompasses so many parts of who I am. Thankful for Home!
Home is such a dear place. A  good home does not happen by accident. A good home, a thriving home, is the result of making godly choices day in and day out, month by month, year by year, decade by decade and then you can look back after almost 38 years of marriage and be so incredibly grateful for a good home. 

Life is surely not all easy and in our life we definitely have had our share of trials and just hard times. Our most difficult moments were probably the result of poor decisions – because we don't always listen or obey like we should! But, then, again, life just happens. You know, whether it be car accidents, or the death of family members, financial struggles due to emergencies or bad choices … for real, no one is immune to struggles.
How we react to those hard times, now that is the clincher on how the family will grow – into a deeper relationship with the Lord and His family, or the opposite – taking us further from Him and the loved ones He has provided in Christ. Know this: God is never stingy on providing wisdom for daily living. In fact, wisdom is personified in the book of Proverbs as a woman longing to share with us. She calls for us to come and drink of all she has to offer. Another place Christ is shown as the embodiment of Wisdom – when we truly seek Him then the best answers to living come to us!
So, my thankfulness for home goes deep – to the generations gone before me. Thankful for the 'follow the Lord' decisions that were made by my grandparents and parents. I am so glad that years ago, Lowell sought to follow the Word and become a Christian and that the Lord saw fit for our paths to meet – this girl from the north who met and fell in love with a boy from the south. Every day I am appreciative of a husband who is a godly head of our family – never easy in this world. I am glad I had a Mom I could learn from and emulate in life. 
Seriously, I am so very grateful for our four young adult children who have chosen well and are leading lives that make the world a brighter place just because they are in it. 
Oh my! and now, these grandchildren of ours ... we see the legacy of right living continuing in and through them ... brightening the corners of their world. 
Home - such a sweet and amazing place, with songs, love and laughter bouncing off the walls, and in times of distress, hearts that are humbled in surrender to Him. 
I try hard to be my best self. I open God's Word morning by morning. Lowell and I make a point to pray together daily. Because we've gone to God throughout our life, we see the fingerprints of the Father! We drop everything and pray when needed and we are heavy on Praise as well. And laughter! we have laughed our way through so many situations in life. We choose adventure regularly. We forgive each other - even when we fail to ask for that forgiveness. I am so thankful I have a husband who believes in me when it's hard to believe in myself. My kids are the best in the world I guess ... they just warm this Mom's heart when I need it most. 
I am so so thankful for My Home - a home that was created one day at a time, decision by decision ... it shines bright but, the dark times have been there. Shadows are necessary for the picture to be seen as reality.
My heart is singing. 

Monday, November 7, 2016

Loving November and Thankful for Health

Well, I guess if I had to choose a favorite month it would be November. The autumn colors and temperature are delightful. It's a thankful filled month and day by day I am reminded of my blessings... all because it leads up to my favorite holiday - Thanksgiving!
I love everything about Thanksgiving but that is for another post.
I have done 31 Days of Gratitude in the past but I find it hard to stay steady with those ... so, today I am posting a first of only five topics of gratitude.
This photo will be your first clue: 

The quality of health a person enjoys affects the life one is able to lead. I'm not saying a person can't have a blessed life and deal with health problems! But, there it is – so many more things can be enjoyed when you have a strong, healthy body and mind. I happen to be one of the fortunate ones who does. I mean, I do have my occasional aches and pains – but not continuous like some of my family and dear friends. And I have my blue moments but not hours or days of suffering.
That's not to say I haven't ever dealt with illness – and some pretty ugly stuff at that! Wow,  I have suffered with some unusual ailments in the past but, a lot of that was due to location. For example, in Nigeria I had malaria multiple times and typhoid once. But, I have dealt with more tummy issues when eating out here in the States than I ever have living overseas. Well, except during our time in Honduras – I had an undiagnosed tummy parasite or bug for about six weeks and lost 30 pounds because I couldn't keep food in me and actually had no appetite. I've broken bones too – falling on and breaking my tailbone – 2 times – now, that was painful! And I knocked my toe into a wooden room divider while dancing a jig for the kids when they were little – broke it clean sideways. Also, I was in a horrendous car wreck several years back and broke my arm in two places and three fingers, plus suffered a double concussion and hearing loss. A friend who is a  doctor came to my home to see me after the wreck - she said I looked like I had been a fight with Mike Tyson. Yep, I was pretty beat up. So, I know what it is to be in pain, to hurt, to long for healing.
But right now, for today, I am in good health, and I am so very, very grateful. My sweet guy, that love of my life, is in good health as well which means we are able to do cool things together – like go on explores in these mountains we live near. Walking and hiking are two of my favorite pastimes. We also get to have crazy fun with our grandchildren. So, we just get up every day grateful that we feel healthy.
I do live my life on purpose though. I take care of myself - meaning my mind, and my body.  I keep a steady schedule of Bible study, prayer, I sing a lot! I read inspirational readings, I eat pretty clean, drink water, sleep well, exercise often, and take good quality all-natural supplements.  I also have a great set of friends and family, and I fight natural introverted tendencies to have purposed times of great fellowship with the people I love. I refuel my soul as I need to and much of this is because of my life in Christ - and attending regular times of gathering with fellow believers. Being a Christian truly helps in being healthy. Why? - because it is a life filled with good decisions based on Bible-wisdom.  In all this, I give glory to God.
I am blessed to be Healthy
Let me mention here that a cool byproduct of the job I have - an It Works Girl, is that I am surrounded by great products available to learn about and use, and I am also interacting with positive people and co-workers daily. It's a wonderful thing to love what you do.